Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the tip of the tongue:Tip/top hapticulation

I have given up on finding a Youtube/video that works effectively with directing learners to the felt sense of the tip of the tongue, as opposed to the "top" of the tongue just behind the tip--or for that matter, the top/middle (the blade) or the sides of the tongue. (I was tempted just to include a list of exemplary worst offenders, but decided to keep my tongue/fingers in check . . . )

The exact contact point of the tongue with the teeth, lips, alveolar ridge (just behind the teeth) is essential for efficient consonant repair (e.g., th/th, f/v, s/z, sh/zh, r, l, n, ng, t/d.)  Most learners, with a few exceptions, without the aid of an instructor and mirror, are not able to accurately anchor to those points. That does not mean that by trial and error--and brute force-- many problematic sounds cannot be eventually approximated, particularly for those who are better wired to extrapolate sound into movement. I will be posting some "hapticulation guidelines" (articulating sounds with haptic anchoring) for use in the classroom. The basic, haptic-integrated classroom teaching requirement: if you can't fix a consonant sound in 2 minutes or less, don't. Schedule an office visit.

Clip art: Clker (stick with marshmallow)
In preparation for that series of protocols, go to Starbucks--not to stir up trouble here--order a coffee and walk off with about a dozen wood coffee stirs. Take one or two, and practice breaking off 1/3 so that you end up with a rather jagged edge. Discard the resultant short piece. (The marshmallow is optional!) See if you can figure out how to establish the appropriate haptic anchor points on the upper body for the settings of the "World Englishes" that you teach. Until you can get your hands on the new EHIEP consonant protocols (March, 2013), however, I take no responsibility whatsoever for any collateral damage that you accidentally inflict on yourself or your students. 


Bill Acton said...

Why Starbuck's wooden coffee stirs? I have tried many different styles. Those, at least the kind that are here in Vancouver, are simply the best in terms of size, breakability, jagged ending, lack of splinters, taste. If you can't find those, improvise, but you need a stick that is about that length and one that can be tossed immediately after use.

Bill Acton said...

When I said "walk off with . . ." I, of course, did not mean that you take some without asking the barrister on duty for them. (Have had mixed results myself with that request, however.) I have not been able to find those coffee stirs anyplace else yet!

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